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May 28, 2012 - Only the Huge Die Young

Only the Huge Die Young This young, glittering cluster of stars is surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust—the raw material for new star formation. The nebula, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, contains a central cluster of huge, hot stars called NGC 3603. Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the surrounding gas and dust, providing an unobstructed view of the cluster within. Although most of these stars were born around the same time, they differ greatly in size and include some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions. This Hubble image combines visible and infrared data.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / R. O’Connell / F. Paresce / E. Young / WFC3 Science Oversight Committee / Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Weekly Calendar

May 28 - June 3, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 28

Memorial Day

First Quarter Moon 4:16 PM ET

1959: First primates in space, Able and Baker (monkeys), complete suborbital flight
1964: SA-6 launched, second Saturn I Block 2

Moon phase Tuesday 29

Mars 7° north of Moon

1919: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity tested during total solar eclipse

Moon phase Wednesday 30

1966: Surveyor 1 launched
1971: Mariner 9 probe launched

Moon phase Thursday 31

1975: European Space Agency formed
1990: Kristall module launched to Mir space station
2008: STS-124 Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 1

Saturn 7° north of Moon

Moon phase Saturday 2

1930: Charles “Pete” Conrad born
1966: Surveyor 1 lands on Moon
1970: First glide test of M2-F3 lifting body
1998: STS-91 Discovery launched
2003: Mars Express / Beagle 2 launched

Moon phase Sunday 3

Trinity Sunday

Moon at perigee

1948: 200-inch Hale telescope dedicated
1965: Gemini IV launched; Ed White takes America’s first space walk
1966: Gemini IX launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.